Tuesday, April 30, 2024

April Book Reviews #bookreview #books #amreading #readingcommunity #vampires #paranormalromance #WWII @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I have been able to read several books this month, thanks to getting almost three books read during my Spring Break cruise and then reading during my lunch breaks. Except for one book, all the reviews I wrote this month were on paranormal books, which is my favorite genre. I'm only posting those books I would recommend to others. I am also one chapter away from finishing Drake's story. Soon, I'll be in the editing/revising stage and will be reaching out to my beta readers. If you have read my Diasodz series and would like to be a beta reader for me, please let me know. :-) Here are my reviews for April:

Genre: Paranormal Vampire Romance

Pages: 506 pages


Meet Sahvage: a powerful MMA fighter with a buried secret that could change the world of Caldwell forever...

Sahvage has been living under the radar for centuries-and he has every intention of staying 'dead and buried.' But when a civilian female sucks him into her dangerous battle with an evil as ancient as time, his protective side overrides his common sense.

Mae has lost everything, and desperation sets her on a collision course with fate. Determined to reverse a tragedy, she goes where mortals should fear to tread- and comes face to face with the Brotherhood's new enemy. She also discovers a love she never expected to find with Sahvage, but there can be no future for them.

Knowing they will part, the two band together to fight against what Mae unknowingly unleashed- as the Brotherhood closes in to reclaim one of their damned, and the evil vows to destroy them all...

I know I've shared this series with you before. I was lucky enough to receive this book for free as part of a Goodreads Giveaway. I'm absolutely in love with this series, and I just found out they are going to turn it into a TV series. Oh, I hope it lives up to the books! This book was focused on Sahvage and Mae, but it also brought back the demoness Devina as well as a new character/love interest for Nate. As always, the author's characters have so much depth. I love the slow build of this story. Both Mae and Sahvage have suffered great loss, and both of them are haunted by their choices. Fate brings them together, but saving each other isn't an easy ride.

There are so many moving pieces in this story, but the author organizes them all masterfully. All the characters are connected by an evil book of spells they all want for different purposes. The hunt for the book reveals Sahvage's connection to the BDB as well as the new character. It also reveals his hidden secret, which was a great little revelation. There are so many possibilities with his character because of his gift/curse. And I have SO many unanswered questions about the new character (don't want to give too much away). Needless to say, I cannot wait to read the next book! If you love vampires with depth and a series that has longevity, I really encourage you to start this one at the beginning with book one, Dark Lover.

Genre: Children's Books

Pages:  100 pages


What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2? Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden. Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia. Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

My Review: 

This is definitely not my normal read, but I've read other books by Robbie Cheadle, so I thought I'd give it a try. This is a children's story, told in small anecdotes through the experiences of Elsie, who is a child growing up in England during World War II. The authors do a great job in showing how difficult life was back then and how families found ways to make it while children found ways to have fun. 

This book isn't told as a typical storyline (plot, conflict, rising action, etc.). Instead, it's told as a child's recounting of memories. At the end, there are a bunch of recipes from that era for anyone who enjoys cooking and wants to try to replicate them. I found the book interesting and enjoyed learning what life was like in England during those times.

Genre: Small Town Romance

Pages: 86 pages


The Harbor Pointe Inn has loomed on California’s cliffs for generations of Hawthornes. For some, it’s been a blessing. For others, a curse. Travel through two centuries of stories to discover the old inn’s secrets.

In an innocent 1958 American suburb, Shelly doesn’t know the power of a kiss. Or how it will change her entire life.

At sixteen years old, she falls in love with a young man. One night—just 
one night—they go too far. Months later, pregnant and shamed, Shelly’s parents banish her.

Alone and heavily pregnant, circumstances force Shelly to cross the country in an old pickup.

A mistaken turn leaves her lost in a forest amidst a severe snow storm and in labor.

In the dark of night. Shelly must get help for her new-born baby before they both perish. A light in the distance gives her the slimmest glimmer of hope.

After Shelly wraps the infant in her father’s old jacket, she trudges through the snow to a lighthouse keeper’s cottage. Snow half buries the squat stone building.

Will Shelly find shelter, or is it the beginning of the end?

My Review: 

I absolutely loved this story! It was so good that I read it in one sitting. The story starts with so much despair and fear, and I was drawn right in. Shelly is sent away from her home when her parents refuse to help her with her pregnancy. Alone and afraid, she travels to a relative's house, but on the way, she runs out of a gas during a bad snow storm. And in that moment, the baby decides it's time to be born. Luckily, Shelly and her baby had a little angel looking out for them.

This story has all the feels, and I teared up many times (okay, maybe a bit more than a few tears). The characters are so believable and kind-hearted. It is embedded with that small town, homey feel where everyone looks out for one another. And I loved every page of it!

Although it's a short read compared to most of the books I read, it felt complete and left me with a full heart. I would definitely recommend this story to others. :-)

Genre: Paranormal Vampire Romance

Pages: 307 pages


"Enter Lara Adrian's vampire world and be enchanted." --J. R. Ward
"One of the best vampire series on the market!" --RT Book Reviews

The line between darkness and light is drawn in blood, and the stakes have never been higher. Nothing less than the fate of the world rests in the hands of the Order, and in one Breed warrior's quest to thaw the heart of an immortal queen in the final novel of Lara Adrian's New York Times and #1 international bestselling Midnight Breed vampire romance series.

As a Breed warrior and the son of the Order’s founder and commander, Darion Thorne is an exacting tactician and a lethal combatant, yet nothing can prepare him for the catastrophic act that forces him to step to the helm of the Order as its leader. With their adversaries growing bolder and more brazen with every strike, Darion knows he must take the war to them before it’s too late to stop them at all.

Yet of all their enemies, the one most dangerous for Darion is the beautiful, yet volatile, Selene, Queen of the Atlanteans. Determined to recover four powerful crystals stolen from her ages ago, Selene will go to any lengths to have them. When that goal puts one of the Order’s own in the crosshairs, she finds herself locked in a personal battle with Darion, a Breed warrior she knows she should despise, yet who stirs an unbidden desire within her.

With the battle lines drawn between them and a diabolical evil on the rise, can Darion and Selene put aside their mistrust in time to save all they hold dear, or will they see the world plunge into a darkness that has no end?

My Review: 

I can't believe this series is over. I fell in love with these Breed warriors almost twenty years ago. I've been putting off reading this book because I didn't want this world to end for me. (Luckily, I realized there are two Hunter Legacy books I still haven't read... yay me!) As the last book, this novel did not disappoint!

Darion had everything going wrong for him. His father (the Order's leader) became compromised, sending both him and his Breedmate into nonstop agony. The Order was losing the battles on every front, and everyone looked to Darion to fill his father's shoes. Selene had the burden of protecting her world from enemies that wanted to destroy them while also feeling her life force depleting. When these two came face-to-face, it could have been catastrophic. Luckily, it was the exact opposite!

I loved how the author brought both of these characters together. Their chemistry was amazing, and I enjoyed how each of them had to let go of their reservations to find compromise...and love. The fight against Opus Nostrum was handled perfectly, and I'm so happy they were obliterated. It had drawn out over so many books, and I was happy their comeuppance was swift. 

And I could think of no greater way for the Ancient to meet his demise. The entire final battle was exhilarating. I loved how all the Breed came together one last time to fight for the future existence of their race. And Darion and Selene's love story (and its aftereffects) was so sweet and touching. The author created as great of an ending as possible for this world. If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it. Here is the link to the first book. :-)

by Marcia Meara

Genre: Paranormal & Urban Fantasy

Pages: 104 pages


Was Gabe Angelino, the mysterious truck driver in Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2, really an angel, as Willow Green believes? Or was he simply a good man, determined to help a stranger in need? Find out, as author Marcia Meara reveals the truth in the first Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary.

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.

It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?

To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.

My Review:

After reading Finding Hunter, I was excited to hear that the author had created this spinoff series about the man who changed Hunter's life trajectory. I love the life story that was created for Jake and the mission he was given after his death. The storyline is fantastic! Heaven's angels are overwhelmed with the amount of lost souls, so one angel decides to take matters into his own hands. He chose Jake, who had just passed away from drowning, and gave him the opportunity to help save others who were going down the wrong path.

At first, Jake wants no part in it, especially because of the way he was introduced to the program. Once Azrael gives him a little more information and attention, Jake decides he will give it a try. The first few saves went well, but Jake quickly learns not all people want to be saved. Still, he's now invested and can't turn away from trying to help others.

Then, he meets Dodger and everything changes. I won't give away any spoilers except to say that this book will pull at your heartstrings. There were moments when I laughed out loud and others that choked me up. I love Jake's mission and look forward to reading the other books in the series. :-)

Have you read any great books this month? I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Seimei #Spring #EkphrasticPoetry #haibun #heartache @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I have been very busy planning my summer trip. My son is graduating from high school in May, and we want to celebrate his acceptance into the college of his dreams. We are a bit behind in the planning because we were waiting to see if he would need to start taking courses in the summer. Luckily, he does not, so now I'm in rush mode to get everything planned.

I've booked us for a ten-day cruise around Italy and Greece. Greece has always been on my bucket list, so I'm excited he chose that itinerary. I've been to Italy, but this cruise is going to places I have yet to see, so I can't wait! Cruise and flight are booked, and I got both with BOGO deals. As a single mom, I'm always looking for budget-friendly opportunities! 😂 

We are now in the process of booking the excursions. Yes, we are behind schedule in doing this, so we are hoping to get it all booked this weekend. Fingers crossed!

For this week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro encouraged us to write an Ekphrastic poem based on the picture below. Now, you would think all my excitement about my upcoming cruise would have me writing about beauty and happiness, but when I saw this painting, my eyes were drawn to the bluish gray building in the back. It almost looks like someone is looking out of a darkened house and seeing the beauty outside. So, my mind took me in a completely different direction.

I chose to write a haibun, which is a paragraph of prose with a syllabic poem. They are always titled, and the title should connect with the poem. There are different styles of haibun poems. I chose to write a prose and haiku. The kigo words must be in the haiku part, and I have bolded and italicized them.

(Artist - Kaoru Yamada)

Dreary Disconnections

Today makes a month since you left me alone, shattering my hopes and dreams of a life filled with love and laughter alongside my soulmate. Father Time cares not of my pain or how the loud minutes ticking by on my grandfather clock only remind me of the hollowness in my heart. Its reverberating, rhythmic sound drones on, taunting me with its power to move on without you. Oh, if I could replace that dreadful sound with your voice, I would listen to it forever! My heartache knows no bounds, and no amount of time will heal the hole your absence has created.

Spring flowers in bloom
whispers of long gone laughter
colors hold no joy

Would you like to write a poem for this painting? Join us here.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #Seimei #Spring #cherryblossoms #fiddleheadferns #twitteringbirds @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I hope you are having a wonderful week. I'm not sure how many of you were able to enjoy the solar eclipse. I was teaching, but I enjoyed seeing the pictures that people posted from different places, especially from people with really fancy cameras. :-)

This week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge is the second part of the Seimei season. This week, Colleen Chesebro invited us to write three poems using the following phrases:

first cherry blossoms
fiddlehead ferns
twittering of birds

Now, I'll admit I had no idea what fiddlehead ferns were, so I looked it up. They are the furled fronds of a baby fern, and people eat them! Some people use them to make medicines. Apparently, they taste like asparagus or broccoli. I'm not a fan of asparagus, so I think I'll stay away from this seasonal delicacy.

I chose to write two haiku poems and a tanka. Haiku poems focus on a part of nature and have three lines with a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern. Tanka poems have five lines with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern with the fourth line usually being the pivot line.

(courtesy of @ChiemSeherin on Pixabay)

the coming of Spring
brings the first cherry blossoms
colorful delights

(courtesy of @lotusning2018 on Pixabay)

green fiddlehead ferns
pulled while furled make crunchy meal
life ended too soon
if left alone to flourish
ferns decorate forest floors

(courtesy of @CharlVera on Pixabay)

twittering of birds
sweet, harmonic melodies
nature's alarm clock

Would you like to write your own poems with these phrases? Join us here.

Friday, April 5, 2024

#TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #cruiselife #Carnivalcruise #Seimei @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! I'm back from my Spring Break vacation. It was a wonderful escape from work and stress. My sister and I took my son and niece on a Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Magic to Amber Cove (DR), Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. We slid down water slides, walked around Old San Juan, went on a catamaran and snorkeled, and completed a kayak, hike, and snorkel tour. We had an amazing time. Here are just a few of the pictures.


This week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge brings in a new season called Seimei, or Clear and Bright. Because it's already Friday, and I still have a busy weekend ahead of me, I decided to write a haiku (three lines with a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern. My kigo phrase is bolded and italicized. 

Spring winds tousle hair
sea's fragrance permeates air
worries disappear

Good luck to those of you participating in NaPoWritMo (National Poetry Writing Month)! One of these years, I'm going to participate. :-)

Would you like to write a poem with us? Join us here.